Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dead to Life

I like what Erwin McManus wrote in his book Uprising:
God’s warning to man was that if he at of the forbidden fruit, he would surely die.  Adam and Eve did eat of the tree, but there was no apparent death at the moment.  I think we often assume God was speaking metaphorically.  Yet what we find throughout the Scriptures is that in the most important way we truly did die.  We are now dead in our trespasses and sins.  We are in a sense even dead to life.  We merely exist and think we are alive.  We have traded the authentic for the imitation.  Human history can be summarized as a desperate search for life (p. 5).

The evening news and the gossips shows continue to show this desperate search for life.  We constantly lie to ourselves by saying, “The missing part of my life is …”  That “is” could be a new relationship, a new job, a different hobby, a different address, more money, or more clothes and you are aware that this list could go on and on.  Most of us should have lived long enough to know that this is just a delusion.  There is nothing in these things that is truly life giving.

The apostle Peter wrote:
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake, who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:17-21; ESV).

In Christ, Peter tells us, we are saved from this empty and hollow existence that many people call life, through the work of Christ Jesus.  I think this passage also reminds us why the world doesn’t need our condemnation, but rather what they need is our love.  You see the people of the world really don’t know any better, and they are chasing life in the same ways that people have always chased after life, yet those ways are futile, and will never give us the life we long to have.

How do we experience this new life that we have been given in Christ Jesus? Peter went on to write; So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:1-3; ESV). Peter mentions two essential actions we must take.  First, we have to git rid of our evil behavior.  We cannot do this alone, but it is something that we must choose to do.  Second, we need to crave God’s truth.  We crave, not necessarily because we like it (hopefully that will come), but because we know it is essential for our lives.  These two actions go together, for we cannot rid our lives of evil without also knowing God’s will and knowing the way He desires us to live.

We live in a dead world among people who are dead to life because of sin.  It is time for us to bring life back to the world, and that begins with our choice to stop existing in this world and to start living the life God created us to live.  In other words it begins when we trust Jesus for life.

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